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Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers 303

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-entertain-their-cats dept.
New submitter Ahmed Shaban writes "Why do protesters in Cairo use laser pointers? At the beginning, they were used to light up snipers on rooftops. Later, it just became fashionable to use them, and such things spread very fast among the youth of Cairo, who can find the high power laser pointers for sale on the sidewalks. The article contains amazing photos of a chopper lit up by green laser pointers."
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Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers

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  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:45AM (#44202761)
    With the Egyptian military completely on board with the protesters this time around, I guess the laser pointers dont have much actual purpose anymore.

    Its actually quite remarkable what is happening there. More people were protesting than had voted for the president because the president decided that their constitution didnt apply to him, so the military takes down the president in response but remarkably doesnt assume power.

    How many countries actually have a military that would do this sort of thing? I'm fairly certain that mine, with a military that runs an agency well known now for violating the constitution, would not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
      The military puts the current president under house arrest. Along with the Cabinet, and has warrants out for several hundred other high officials. Then, they (the military) appoint some other guy to be president. The only reason this new guy is there is because the military heads said "OK dude...you're up". He knows very well which side his peta bread is buttered on.

      OK, not direct military control, but control by proxy.
      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:02AM (#44202867)

        Then, they (the military) appoint some other guy to be president.

        That 'some other guy' was the head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, and a deputy chief justice for over 2 decades, not some arbitrary pick.

        • by Artemis3 (85734)

          Especially funny after suspending the constitution.

          A coup is a coup, backed or not by the population. You should have trialed that guy instead of having the military take power and put a puppet. And if you can't bear waiting for the next election, change the constitution so that there is a mechanism to revoke the president and other elected officials.

          Well i suppose a country with 40 years without democracy couldn't bear it more than a single one of it. I guess that dictator movie guy was right...

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Well with Morsi in power and his el-presedente like powers the chance of something like "a mechanism to revoke the president and other elected officials" is nil. Though I have a much bigger suspicion that the military rebelled because Morsi and rest of the muslim brotherhood wanted them to jump into Syria, and Nigeria and support the islamo-facists there.

      • by jkflying (2190798)

        Oh really, and what would you have done if you were the military and the current president was trying to turn the country into a theocracy, replacing police, judges and school principles with his cronies?

        Also, apparently the officials being arrested and the TV stations being closed are because they were encouraging their supporters to be violent.

        • by Dredd13 (14750)

          I dunno. If someone staged a coup in the US, I'd be 'encouraging people to be violent' against it as well.

          • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:38AM (#44203059)

            I dunno. If someone staged a coup in the US, I'd be 'encouraging people to be violent' against it as well.

            What if 50 million people in the US took to the streets in protest of the government?

            That is essentially what just happened in Egypt. 17% of the people took to the streets! The largest protest in the history of the world at 14 million people.

            Its gotta be extremely bad to get 17% of the people actively protesting, so when you say 'staged a coup' I honestly wonder exactly how ignorant you are of what just happened in Egypt. Only read and watch American news?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Dredd13 (14750)

              I'm not ignorant to what's happening, but what part of my sentence was factually inaccurate? Did the military not take over the country and appoint a new leader? Is that not the textbook definition of a coup d'etat?

              I'm well aware of the various failings of the Morsi administration, but let's be clear: if 17% of the population of the US was protesting the Obama administration, and the Joint Chiefs had suspended the rule of law embodied by the Constitution to appoint John Roberts as President, it would not be

              • It depends. (Score:5, Interesting)

                by raehl (609729) <raehl311@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Saturday July 06, 2013 @12:47PM (#44203679) Homepage

                Is that not the textbook definition of a coup d'etat?

                Just because a government is democratically elected doesn't mean it's a democracy. History is full of democratically elected governments that then turn into totalitarian regimes.

                If Obama woke up tomorrow and ordered that all Tea Party members be arrested, I would expect our military to essentially remove him from office - in the immediate case by ignoring him, and in the longer case by Congress impeaching him and removing him from office - which would still require the cooperation of the military (they'd have to decide to listen to Congress and not the President.)

                In Egypt, there isn't really a constitutional mechanism to get rid of a leader who, while democratically elected, isn't fulfilling his responsibilities as a democratic leader, so the best thing they have is the Army takes care of it.

                So while this may technically be a coup in that the elected leader is being removed from office through a non-elective means, it's not necessarily undemocratic, if you believe the elected leader is abusing the freedoms of the people and the coup is to create the opportunity for someone who does respect the rights of the people to be elected.

                • Re:It depends. (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday July 06, 2013 @01:38PM (#44203935) Homepage Journal

                  If Obama woke up tomorrow and ordered that all Tea Party members be arrested, I would expect our military to essentially remove him from office -

                  How about if he just had all of the newspaper editors arrested and jailed who were publishing stories in opposition to his policies?

                  Because that's what Lincoln did and the Army supported him. Both used / would used 'continuity of government' as an excuse to violate the laws that authorize that government in the first place.

            • by arth1 (260657)

              Psst: The US supports this takeover. There's a long history and tradition of supporting dictators against the people, as long as the dictators are nominally friendly towards US policies. If anything, the newspapers here in the US paint a picture of the people rising to overthrow a despot, which isn't what's happening at all.
              I fear you might have been hit by American and right-wing propaganda here, and don't even realize it.

              Part of the problem over the last year has been that democracies need checks to en

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by csumpi (2258986)
              Will not happen. It's a game of numbers. Let's start with 100% and start subtracting:

              - people too young and people too old
              - democrats
              - liberals
              - socialists/communists
              - african americans
              - hispanics
              - lbgt
              - with free cell phones
              - on government aid
              - holding a lot of government debt (eg student loans)
              - fans of actors/musicians who entertain president
              - ...

              Even with the partial list you can probably see how this game was won much before it started.
            • by abigsmurf (919188)
              14 million is utter bullshit. The figure's original source? an unnamed " military source".

              The biggest protest was 500,000, the next biggest was Alexandria at 'a few 100,000'. After that you've probably a bit of long tail but the numbers likely plummeted drastically. A figure of 1-1.5mill seems most likely.

              Think about it, you've people too old, too young, not physically able, too scared, to busy with work, people living in a low density populated area, people who don't care enough, people who just flat
      • by Threni (635302)

        > He knows very well which side his peta bread is buttered on.

        Is that a vegetarian snack?

    • by jovius (974690)

      The transitions in Egypt have been politically guided by the military, most likely in co-operation with some foreign help - for instance the US, because the US has a lot of interest in Egypt (supporting the past dictatorship too). The group who managed the first revolution and this one perfectly know how to channel the energy of the masses.

      Military should ideally be a politically neutral force. That's not true anywhere.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How many countries actually have a military that would do this sort of thing? I'm fairly certain that mine, with a military that runs an agency well known now for violating the constitution, would not.

      What you fail to realize is that the US military is ALREADY running the show.
      The appearance that civilians are running the show is kept up to placate the
      masses. You should join in with them in a chorus of "baaaa !!!"

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      There are many different protester groups and not all of them like the military.

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:13AM (#44202937)
        There are 4 main factions in Egypt, and certainly not all of them are happy with the military... clearly the muslim brotherhood is no longer happy with them. I imagine the minor groups like the Christians are extremely happy now.

        I work with a man from Egypt, a Christian with family over there. I asked him what he thought about all this and his eyes lit up, "my family is finally free."
        • by jfengel (409917)

          I hope he's right about that. I suspect he may have thought that the last time.

          Overthrowing dictators is always a good thing, but I consider it a tossup at best as to whether the new leadership actually wants to rule democratically. Egyptians voluntarily elected an Islamist party last time, and even if the Muslim Brotherhood is out, Islamist sentiments remain. I will hope for better, but I'll believe it when I see it.

    • How many countries actually have a military that would do this sort of thing?

      I think Turkey has done it a couple of times over the last century.

    • Yes, the Egyptian military is unusual is that they are not an obvious kleptocracy like most other military juntas. I'm sure that there are senior military members, however, who are economically and politically benefiting from the status quo, but mostly they seem to want to hold on to their position as a mostly secular, stabilizing influence. It's not like they did such a great job before Mosari, however to be fair, it's not clear that anyone could do a whole lot better.

      Even without the polarizing aspects

    • by Eivind (15695)

      Turkey comes to mind. The military there has on several occasions defended the constitutions againts attack from government, and then handed the keys back over to the ones who, by the constitution, should hold them; namely the people (trough elections)

  • aren't weapons that blind people banned by the Geneva Convention?

  • by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:47AM (#44202771) Journal

    Anyone want to invest in a cataract treatment center in Cairo, they're going to need it in a few years...

  • by auric_dude (610172) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:47AM (#44202775)
    I know the 'copters are being illuminated by hand-held laser pointers but the photographs do look like those produced by Michael Yon http://www.michaelyon-online.com/the-kopp-etchells-effect.htm [michaelyon-online.com] showing the Kopp-Etchells Effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_rotor [wikipedia.org].
  • The real idiots... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:58AM (#44202839) Homepage Journal
    ...are the moronic A/Cs on /. who seem happy to denigrate the Egyptian people for celebrating the peaceful overthrow of a useless leader. The fact that the army has removed these incompetants and are immediately handing power back to the people is un-precedented and incredible. The Egyptian people and army could teach some other nations a thing or two, I think, not to mention some of the ignorant bigots who plague /.
    • by PPH (736903)

      I don't think Slashdotters are denigrating the Egyptians for their celebration as much as they are pointing out what a bad idea illuminating aircraft with laser pointers is. In the USA and other countries, doing this sort of thing with laser pointers is a sign of aggression against low flying aircraft and is illegal. So TFA points out the positive motivation behind what we have seen in the media. Even if we think its still a bad idea.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @12:02PM (#44203433)

    It's all fun and games, 'til someone loses an eye.

  • return to base, return to base, your fight'n a laser war”

  • Cats (Score:5, Funny)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @12:14PM (#44203487) Homepage

    Egyptians revere cats.
    So obviously they are fascinated with laser pointers as well.

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